In most lines of work, dealing with an incorrect address is simply a matter of contacting the customer, verifying the information, and resending it. A minor inconvenience, but not usually not a significant problem.
For process servers, though, incorrect addresses throw a wrench in the plans. Without a correct address, it obviously becomes more difficult to serve papers. Moreover, incorrect addresses can slow down a case, especially if the matter is dependent on the service.
Process servers, however, have the ability to locate accurate addresses while limiting the additional days added onto service timelines.
While an incorrect address can delay the process serving procedures and trigger the need for a due diligence inquiry, it can also give professionals a chance to ensure they’re following due process. After all, it’s much better to put in the time now to ensure an effective service than have the service contested and dismissed down the line.
Why was the address “incorrect”?
If a process server is unable to serve papers, they need to be able to explain why the service was unsuccessful so you can determine the most appropriate next steps, including alternate forms of service.
“Incorrect address” itself is often insufficient information. Why specifically was it incorrect? Was no one there? Was the house occupied or vacant? Did you speak or make contact with anyone? Did you speak with neighbors?
People move more frequently these days than ever before, and we’re seeing an increasing number of businesses as shell companies or under other names as a d/b/a. That means it can be more complicated than the business not simply being located at the address (perhaps it’s called another name) or as the person not being home. Getting the bottom of these details makes it more likely that the correct address will be located.
Gathering as much information as possible at this point lays the foundation for success down the road. If you wind up needing to pursue alternate service, having these details is going to make all the difference in getting it approved.
What will an address locate tell us?
If we believe we’re attempting service at an incorrect address, the next step is always to contact the representing attorney or paralegal and ask what next steps they’d like to take. Often, in order to make sure service is completed, it’s necessary to find a new address.
At DGR, our due diligence department uses their skills, the deep web and social media searches, as well as specialized databases to find a new (and hopefully correct) address. With direct access to DMV records in certain states, we’re also able to pull information directly from an updated resource. There’s more involved than just running a search and taking it at fast value though. Often database results aren’t exactly the same, which requires some digging to figure out which address is the more recent – and the most likely to be accurate.
Best address round two
It’s common to run into this scenario, especially in matters where the last known address was from years ago.
This is where experienced process servers shine. They are able to bring their expertise to the table and evaluate the information gathered during the first attempts. Does it seem likely, based on prior observations, that they had been lied to? Or that the individual was simply evading them?
Sometimes the correct answer is the simplest one – and they can redouble their efforts to serve papers at the original address. They can also use this same information to assess whether it’s time to move on to the next best addresses.
Incorrect addresses can lead to challenges for process servers, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the road for the service. To learn more about how DGR handles the wide range of process service cases that we take on, contact us today.